A little over a year since British Columbia-based downhill legend Stevie Smith, “the Canadian Chainsaw,” died in a motocross accident on Vancouver Island, a bike park in Nanaimo, B.C. has opened in honour of the fallen rider and in recognition of his achievements.
This week, CHEK News reported, dignitaries, family and friends turned out to mark the opening of the Steve Smith Bike Park.
Immortalized as Canada’s most powerful, accomplished downhill mountain biker — taking the 2013 UCI downhill mountain bike title, to name just one of his feats — the park is a fitting memorial to the 26-year-old gravity-riding phenom, one that plays a role in fostering future generations of talent. “He would be proud of the fact the community came together to build a park that will help others become better at the sport,” said Michelle Corfield, a friend of Smith’s family and the founder of the Steve Smith Foundation.
“I think he would be honoured,” she said.
The park is the result of a fundraising campaign launched by the Steve Smith Foundation shortly after his passing, when he died following a dirtbike crash at Nanaimo’s Wastelands Motorcross Park. With the resulting proceeds of half a million dollars, the park became a reality, fulfilling a dream of Smith’s to give kids in his Vancouver Island home town more opportunities to take to the saddle. Additionally, the Steve Smith Foundation, in partnership with the Share the Ride Foundation, used the proceeds to donate 25 bikes to kids in the Nanaimo area.
True to the park’s namesake, the opening of the facility, however, was anything but conventional. Instead of cutting a ribbon, Smith’s mother took up a chainsaw — in recognition of the fallen athlete’s nickname — and ceremonially cut a log to declare the Steve Smith Bike Park officially open.
“Just stoked. Just so happy to see it come together,” said Smith’s sister, Kyra, speaking with CHEK News reporters. “Very proud.”